06 January 2011
"Happy Cannibal Crab - Will Die"
I've taken to keeping a notebook and pen next to my bed - especially in these days of bizarre sleeping schedules, my dreams have become more exaggerated [or, at least, I remember more of them]. (It should be noted that, were it not for the confines of the "normal" living hours imposed by "normal" society, I suspect I would naturally sleep from 5 or 6AM through to 1 or 2PM, with my most productive hours being the 11PM-1AM time slot. Unfortunately, just being awake, alert, and inspired to work doesn't do much when the rest of the world insists on quiet and sleep. Buzzkills.)
It's always a bit of a laugh to wake the next morning and find scrawled, cryptic messages in a foreign hand next to your bed - rather like waking up in an archeological excavation and attempting to decipher ancient ruins without the aid of my own Rosetta Stone. Fortunately, if I squint my eyes, tilt the head sideways, and imagine the hand gestures that would've been made in the dark, half-asleep, I can generally pull out enough words to spark the memory of the dream, which tangles back through the dusty cobwebs of the night's brain.
The words I picked out this morning became my blog post, which sounds like either a bizarre Japanese horror film or the latest Indie band. I was enjoying the summer sun and salt air of Hood Canal, lounging on the bulkhead and fully feeling the cold stones beneath my legs and hearing the surf roll in. The neighbors were on their porch, and they laughed when they saw their new pet come wandering up from the beach. This was no ordinary crab, this crab was massive - about the size of two large dinner plates or a flattened chihuahua. He wasn't scary, though - he was a happy crab (contradiction in terms, notwithstanding), almost leaping and bouncing around like a small child high on concentrated sugar as he raced his way up to the bottom of the stairs to the neighbor's porch. There, they tossed him a few dining options - first a fillet of fish, which he raced to, grabbed up in his massive pinchers, nibbled at, then spat out with a distinctive "pbthh". He didn't even dignify the morning pancakes and sausage with a glance, instead jumping up and down and flailing his pinchers in the universal whine of a spoiled child.
The neighbors, shrugging their shoulders at me with a laugh (as if to say, "This is all he'll touch!"), threw him down a half-empty shell of a crab eaten the night before. The mammoth crab leaped in glee (with an audible and only half anthropomorphic shout of "wahoo!"), raced over, and began scooping the meat out of the shell and shovelling it down his gullet as fast as his arms could shovel (a technique familar to many anthropologists as the "Prather Popcorn Maneuver"). Fearing his beloved treat could be taken from him by all these watchful eyes (or suspicious that the laughter coming from the porch was directed at him), he scowled, held the prized meat closer to his breast, and scuttled back down to the crashing waves to enjoy his meal in peace.
Watching all this occur, I knew in that full certainty that you can have in dreams (without being told directly) that the neighbors were feeding the crab in order to fatten him up for the pot. Even in my dream, I could feel the irony of begging for a forbidden/cannibalistic treat, only to receive it at the cost that you, one day, will in turn be fed to someone else. I decided it was a rather macabre version of an Aesop Fable, only to remember that most Aesop Fables were pretty dang macabre in themselves - they needed no help from me.
To finish the dream, as I sat on my dreamstate bulkhead considering the bizarre "lesson" my mind had just invented for me, I suddenly found my mouth and cheeks full (in a chipmunk fashion) with greasy, slimy, uncooked chunks of fish fillet, straight off the bone, and still salty from the sound. I would dry heave a huge pile of this fetid stink out of my mouth, only to have more and more appear. By the time I was finally just spitting out plain old spit, I had woken up.
If I was to continue with my philosophical bent, could I see this as a warning? A suggestion that I take in more of the world's fool's gold than I realize? Was this a pat on the back that I refused the option for personal gain at the expense of others? Or, should I choose to view it in more practical terms: namely, my mind was telling me that I was about to wake up, and that I really should've brushed my teeth before going to bed.